The Village of Allonby

If you are going to stay in a self catering holiday cottage then it is useful to know a little bit about the place you are going to stay. By learning about the history, facilities and attractions you can plan your activities and help make the most of your holiday time.

Allonby is a small coastal village in the county of Cumbria. It sits within the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) between the towns of Mayport and Silloth. Although it is only a small village it has a rich history and also boasts a wide range of facilities. As well as being situated right on the beach it is also close to a range of other attractions, not least of which being the Lake District!

Allonby first appears in historical records as far back as 1274 (although it does make this appearance under the guise of “Alenby”). The main period of development for the village was in the late 18th century until the mid 19th century, during this period the fishing industry expanded (particularly Herring) and brought some prosperity to the village. It was also during this time the village developed it’s association with the Quakers (although that association existed prior to this time – the first Quaker reading room was built in 1703). The Quakers funded a rather large reading room which opened in 1862 (and is still there today albeit now a private residence). This was funded by Joseph Peace who was Britain’s first Quaker MP and designed by Alfred Waterhouse who is more well known for works such as Manchester Town Hall, The Natural History Museum and Strangeways prison!. Also in the 19th Century a rather set of grand public baths were built in the village to help meet the needs of the Victorian visitors who were coming in increasing numbers as it was very fashionable at the time to “take the waters”. A historical claim to fame for the village is that Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins stayed in the Ship Inn (which was first established in 17th century and is still in operation today).

As well as boasting a rich history as described above Allonby has a thriving present with a range of facilities and activities available in the village. Two of the main activities are walking and cycling as the village lies directly on the Cumbria Coastal Way footpath and benefits from a stretch of the Solway cycle path that reaches back to Maryport. In addition to the coastal path there are miles of open beach to walk upon (particularly good for dog walkers). There is no also an excellent cycle hire facility in the village that helps get you mobile if you don’t have your bikes with you. This beach was first awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award back in 2005 and much work has been done to both maintain and improve the water quality on the beach. This has helped lead to increased usage of the beach for a range of water sports (including some quite dramatic kite surfing), fishing and, for the brave heated, swimming. The village also boasts a well-equipped children’s play park and for the older ones amongst us there are also two pubs, an antiques shop and a café in the village. On a practical note the village also has it’s own local shop that stocks a wide range of goods and produce.

As well as the facilities in the village there are also a wealth of attractions within a short distance – the Victorian town of Silloth with it’s lovely promenade, the Lake District with all it’s facilities, the border city of Carlisle for shops and nightlife, the West Cumbrian coast within numerous towns and villages.

So, in summary, Allonby is not just a beautiful seaside village on the Cumbrian coast but also a village with a rich history, a great range of facilities and a host of attractions on it’s doorstep.